Aaron Ross will miss some offseason workouts to watch wife in Olympics

When offseason workouts are underway across the NFL this summer, a number of players will be absent for various reasons. Some will be nursing injuries while others will be tied up in contract disputes. Aaron Ross, however, may have the most unique excuse in the league.

According to the NY Daily News, the Jaguars have given their newly-signed cornerback permission to miss some of the team’s offseason training program so he can watch his wife compete in the Summer Olympics. Ross’s better half, Sanya Richards-Ross, is a track and field star and the reining world indoor champion in the 400-meter race. She won a gold medal in the 1,600-meter team relay in Athens and a bronze in the 400-meter in Beijing.

Ross reportedly asked Jacksonville GM Gene Smith and head coach Mike Mularkey if he would be able to attend the London Olympics before he signed his three-year, $15.3 million deal last month. He said the fact that he is able to leave training camp to cheer his wife on “speaks volumes about what they’re trying to preach (in Jacksonville).”

That makes at least two Jaguars who will miss some time this summer. The difference is Ross has a family commitment, whereas a certain defensive lineman will be recovering from an eye injury he suffered when he was hit in the head with a vodka bottle. One seems a bit easier to justify than the other.

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Coach says Michael Phelps will only compete in events he has a chance to win

Michael Phelps has a lot to live up to when he jumps into the water at the London Olympics this summer. In case you somehow forgot, the 26-year-old who many have called the greatest swimmer of all time, took home a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Excitement swept through the United States and many other parts of the world as Phelps chased down the record, and you can expect the same type of buzz to follow him to London.

Whether Phelps can realistically break his own record or not, his fans can rest assured knowing that his coach, Bob Bowman, has said Phelps will not set himself up for failure.

“He won’t swim in an event in London that he won’t have a chance to win,” Bowman said according to the Baltimore Sun.

What events are those? Water polo? Beach volleyball? Phelps has not yet revealed which swimming events he will take part in, but there can’t be many he has no chance of winning. In other words: Thank you, Captain Obvious. I can’t imagine many athletes from around the world would throw themselves into an event they thought they had no shot of winning. At least Bowman and Phelps are protecting us from having to witness the unthinkable.

H/T Nick Zaccardi on Twitter
Photo credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor sticking with bikinis at Olympics

When the news broke a couple of weeks back that women’s Olympic volleyball players will no longer be required to wear bikinis, a dark cloud formed over the Twitter and Facebook worlds. Whether right or wrong, there are a number of people out there who watch women’s volleyball to see women who are in tremendous shape wearing bikinis. Fortunately for those people, some of the world’s best players are fine with that.

While the new uniform regulations have been well-received because they are more sensitive of certain religious and cultural beliefs, defending gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor say their bikinis aren’t going anywhere.

“It’s something I really feel comfortable with,” Walsh told the Associated Press. “It’s something I feel empowered by, not distracted with. I’m not a sex symbol; I’m an athlete. I want to be streamlined out there.

“I think (the change) is fantastic. I don’t want anything as trivial as a uniform to keep anyone from chasing their dreams.”

Her partner agreed that the bikinis are here to stay and reassured everyone that very few changes are likely to be seen.

“We’re staying in ours,” May-Treanor said. “I don’t see too many people changing. To each his own. If you get down to it, it’s about the sport and not what we’re wearing. So it’s fine, whatever anybody feels comfortable with.”

Along with people who were looking forward to gawking at beach bods, the advertisers who were planning to buy ad space on the athletes’ bodies are probably breathing a sigh of relief. All is right in the world. We can get back looking forward to July in London.

Photo credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Londoners will be renting out tents in their backyards to Olympic visitors

With the Summer Olympics right around the corner, hotels and housing options are becoming difficult to find around the London area. When the games begin in July, an estimated 300,000 visitors will head to London and likely book more than 140,000 hotel rooms. With demand significantly higher than supply, some London residents have decided to get creative and create housing options for visitors. According to Bloomberg, Londoner Natasha Corne plans to rent out her backyard for $24 a night.

“I’ve jumped on the Olympic bandwagon,” Corne said. “I haven’t got a massive garden, but there’s enough space to sleep eight.”

Corne says she has set up a tent on her 1,750 square-foot plot of land and will set up a barbecue in July. The $24 per person, per night rate also includes a full English breakfast. She and several other London residents are advertising their space on a website called www.campinmygarden.com.

“There are simply not enough rooms available across all price classes,” an STR Global marketing director named Konstanze Auernheime said. “That’s why many Londoners see this as an opportunity to offer accommodation with a local flavor for less money.”

Other London-area residents are planning to rent out their houses and apartments. Homeowners can rent out a furnished room for up to 4,000 pounds ($6,350) without paying any taxes. As you can see, business and money-making opportunities are quite abundant when the Olympics are in town.

Syrian goalie says country’s athletes only participating in Olympics out of fear

With protests ongoing against Syrian president President Bashar al-Assad that have resulted in more than 9,000 civilian deaths and another 3,000 from security forces, there has been increasing pressure for Syria to be banned from the London Olympics. Addad has agreed to a cease fire that would take place on April 10, but Britain is still being urged to ban the country because of the turmoil. Former Syria international goalkeeper Abdelbasset Saroot claims Syria’s athletes would rather not compete in the Olympics but are doing so out of fear.

“They don’t want to play for a flag that they have no pride or faith in,” the 20-year-old told ITV News Tuesday according to Reuters. “I personally know the majority of the athletes don’t want to take part and they are only going (out of) fear (for) their families – the regime repercussions if they don’t comply.

“My message as a footballer, athlete and activist first of all is that we are seeing a real massacre here and the world isn’t speaking except of numbers and death tolls. These are real people, this is a massacre because people are being butchered, people in the world have forgotten about the humanitarian crisis – houses are being demolished.”

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London public transportation creates the Underground Olympic Legends Map

If you are riding the London Underground anytime soon and find yourself looking at a map that features nothing but the names of Olympic athletes, don’t be alarmed. This is normal — at least for the summer as the city of London gets set to host the Olympic Games. Transport for London recently released its Underground Olympic Legends Map, which has swapped out the names of London’s 361 tube stations and replaced them with the names of famous Olympic competitors.

According to the TFL website — where the map is being sold for around 5 euros — the design was created by Alex Trickett and David Brooks after quite a bit of back-and-forth.

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Women volleyball players do not have to wear bikinis at London Olympics

In order to respect and accommodate the cultural beliefs of various countries, female volleyball players will be given more of a choice in clothing at the London Olympics this summer. Instead of having to wear bikinis, the International Volleyball Federation has announced that women will be allowed to wear shorts and tops with sleeves. The new rule permits “shorts of a maximum length of (1.18 inches) above the knee,” so I doubt we’ll be seeing any board shorts on the beach.

“Many of these countries have religious and cultural requirements, so the uniform needed to be more flexible.” FIVB spokesman Richard Baker told the Associated Press Tuesday. “Winners of the Continental Cups will qualify for the Olympics, so it has to be applied.”

Five Continental Cup Olympic qualifiers already had the rule in place, so it made sense to extend it to all athletes and countries. Plenty of athletes will stick to the bikini uniforms that they have become accustomed to, but the option is available.

As expected, there have already been rumblings about the change in uniform policy affecting ratings for volleyball. The reality is — whether right or wrong — there are plenty of people who tune into women’s Olympic beach volleyball to watch women in bikinis. More clothing will also mean less space for those tattoo advertisements some players have featured.

Photo Credit: Presse Sports-US PRESSWIRE